European and Italian dairy goat farming has increasingly turned towards organic method. This production system aims at ensuring high levels of animal health and welfare, by reducing the use of allophatic medicine and creating well-balanced agro-ecosystems. Despite the growing importance of organic farming, researches on this field are still relatively limited, in particular with respect to the evaluation of animal welfare in organic goats. New research would contribute to improve organic goat husbandry as well as to fulfil consumers’ demand. This thesis investigates two fundamental health and welfare issues related to the use of pasture in organic dairy goat farming: 1) gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) and their control strategies (Chapters 1 and 2), and 2) positive emotional state and its assessment in goats (Chapter 3). It relies on a series of experimental studies performed in a commercial organic dairy goat farm in Lombardy between 2012 and 2014. Following a literature review on sustainable strategies to control GIN, the first study evaluates the efficacy of a commercial herbal product in controlling GIN compared to conventional allopathic anthelmintic. The results show significant differences between treatments (conventional < phytotherapic) (P < 0.05) in terms of fecal egg count per gram (EPG), throughout the experimental period. Both the anthelmintic products (conventional and phytoterapic) showed low efficacy for GIN’s control: the allophatic product was effective only at 60 days post-treatment (fecal egg count reduction > 90%), while the phytotherapic product did not reach the threshold values during the whole study period. Furthermore the herbal anthelmintic showed great differences in individual responses within the group. The second study aims at evaluating the efficacy of pumpkin seeds used as anthelmintics in traditional veterinary medicine, to reduce fecal egg count. No significant differences in EPG were found in the pumpkin seed-treated group compared to a negative control throughout the study period. In both these trials, the goats showed a great tolerance to GIN, suggesting the goats’ ability to cope with infections, and that preventive strategies, including grazing management, are paramount for GIN control. The third study tests the validity and repeatability of Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA), as a tool to assess positive emotional state and thus the “overall” welfare of dairy goats. Principal Component Analysis on QBA scores point out that goats’ demeanour on intensive and organic farms is different, showing that access to pasture has a positive effect on goats’ emotional state. Moreover, the results show a good inter-observer reliability across three dimensions of goat demeanour (PC1: r = 0.75, P = 0.001; PC2: r = 0.67, P = 0.006; PC3: r = 0.69, P = 0.004). These results highlight the promising role of QBA as part of welfare assessment protocols for goats, especially in organic farming. As a broader conclusion, this thesis raises further questions on the extent to which GIN actually represent a serious problem for organic goats’ health and welfare. Answering this question would have practical implications for determining the most adequate treatment strategy for goats, both with phytotherapy as well as with traditional methods. In light of these results, further controlled studies are encouraged to assess the health and welfare of organic grazing goats from a multidimensional perspective and to develop standardized methods for their evaluation.
HEALTH AND WELFARE IN ORGANIC DAIRY GOAT FARMS / L. Grosso ; tutor: V.Ferrante; coordinatore: G. Gandini. - Milano : Università degli studi di Milano. Università degli Studi di Milano, 2014 Nov 21. ((26. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2014.
|Titolo:||HEALTH AND WELFARE IN ORGANIC DAIRY GOAT FARMS|
|Data di pubblicazione:||21-nov-2014|
|Parole Chiave:||DAIRY GOAT; ORGANIC FARMING; ANIMAL WELFARE; GASTROINTESTINAL NEMATODES; PHYTOTHERAPY; QUALITATIVE BEHAVIOUR ASSESSEMENT|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore AGR/19 - Zootecnica Speciale|
|Citazione:||HEALTH AND WELFARE IN ORGANIC DAIRY GOAT FARMS / L. Grosso ; tutor: V.Ferrante; coordinatore: G. Gandini. - Milano : Università degli studi di Milano. Università degli Studi di Milano, 2014 Nov 21. ((26. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2014.|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.13130/grosso-lilia_phd2014-11-21|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Tesi di dottorato|